More than 100,000 lights will illuminate the Utah Shakespeare Festival grounds for the first time this holiday season as part of Cedar City’s “All Is Bright” event beginning on Nov. 28.
The lights will turn on throughout downtown Cedar City, Center Street and the Shakespeare grounds at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday. The event will begin in front of the city offices at 10 N. Main St. at 5:15 p.m. with activities such as fireworks, music performances and a visit from Santa Claus.
Husband-and-wife Tom and Donna Ruzika are the architectural lighting designers behind the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s holiday light display. The Ruzikas have been involved in intervals with the festival by designing the lighting for shows since 1973 — the year they got married.
The Ruzikas’ experience with designing lights for Shakespeare plays factored into their decision-making for the holiday lights.
“We are approaching this project as if the festival grounds are a performance, as if the lights are the actors,” said Donna Ruzika.
Tom Ruzika said he hopes for the community to “enjoy an enchanted magical area to help everyone get out of what we are going through this year.”
“This year, more than others, we needed some holiday cheer, and it’s been amazing to see the community join in on the fun,” said Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards. “…[T]he new Utah Shakespeare Festival lights….will certainly add to the downtown experience and make Cedar City an even more phenomenal Christmas destination.”
In addition to beginning what the Utah Shakespeare Festival hopes to be a new tradition, the light display is also a tribute to Fred C. Adams, the festival’s founder who had a love for Christmas lights. Adams passed away on Feb. 6, 2020.
The Ruzikas have gathered wreaths, icicles and other decorations in addition to thousands of lights to transform the Shakespeare Festival’s grounds. A seven-foot star will sit on top of the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, shining visibly for much of Cedar City.
“There’s nothing like a small-town Christmas in Festival City,” said Wilson-Edwards.
Story By: Tori Jensen
photos and press release courtesy of the Utah Shakespeare Festival